Lesson plan on appearance: petition to Parliament to make it illegal to require women to wear high heels at work

This is a lesson plan I came up with some time ago about appearance and dress codes. It is based around a controversy involving Nicola Thorpe, a (then) aspiring actress and temp worker, who was forced to wear quite high heels to work, or else lose her job. She felt something needed to be done, and started a petition to Parliament to make it illegal for a company to require women to wear high heels at work.

 

Watch Nicola Thorp’s interview. Then, in pairs, answer these questions:

  1. What was Nicola’s job?
  2. What shoes was she wearing on the day she was sent home?
  3. What option did the company give her before sending her home?
  4. What did the employment hotline say to Nicola?
  5. Why don’t many companies follow the dress code laws?
  6. What were Nicola’s duties at work?
  7. What’s Nicola’s opinion of female workers who want to wear high heels?
  8. What were high heels originally designed for?
  9. When was Price Waterhouse Coopers, the company that hired Nicola, aware of the controversy?

2. Watch this second interview now. What is the host’s reaction to Nicola’s petition? What expressions does the host use to support his view / agree or disagree with Nicola?

 

This is what Parliament finally ruled:

WRITING: Write a comment on Nicola Thorp’s Fakebook page giving your views on her petition and whether or not you agree with the points she made about gender equality in the workplace.

READING:

C1: Read the text below. Then, for questions 1 to 12 choose the best option from the list (a-l) to complete the missing information.

Click on the screenshot to see the exercise

Link to exercise

Link to self-grading version of exercise- GoConqr

Now, summarise the main ideas and contentions in the article. To what extent do you agree with them? Discuss with your partners. Try to use expressions showing your opinions.

B2: Read the text and drag and drop the words to fill in the gaps

Screenshot 2019-02-03 at 11.39.45

SPEAKING. Discuss these questions in pairs:

  1. How do you feel about Nicola Thorp’s story? Do you share her views on the subject?
  2. Should women have to wear heels at certain jobs? If so, which? Why?
  3. Is there a dress code for teachers in Spain? What do you know about other countries?
  4. Should there be a dress code for teachers? Why? Why not?
  5. What clothes would you choose to be your workplace uniform?

LISTENING COMPREHENSION: Listen to the clip below, and fill in the gaps with no more than four words. 

 

  1. According to Lucy, …………………women wear high heels in traditional offices.
  2. She is terrified by the ………………………………………………in senior women gatherings.
  3. Apparently, each of these senior women has spent 20 minutes in her daily ……………………………….
  4. All women journalists at the BBC look a bit ………………………………………
  5. Shahidha is wearing black ……………………………………at the time of speaking.
  6. She needs the heels to ……………………………… the lectern.
  7. On the tube she was wearing ………………………………

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